Marketing has always been about telling customers a story about a product, brand, or company in order to entice and amuse him/her and ultimately result in a purchase. All Marketers Tell Stories by Seth Godin aims to provide insights into the world of marketing, how marketers think, and, most importantly, how to tell customers stories that are meaningful and authentic, with the goal of creating long-term relationships. Furthermore, it delves into marketing practices that, for better or worse, frequently rely on lies and deception to gain access to consumers' minds, and how these practices affect people.
How can a story make marketing more effective?
The fundamentals of good marketing are telling believable stories to customers. Today, consumers all over the world buy what they want rather than what they need. As a result, marketers who capitalise on the power of a story succeed. Marketing today sells if a story sells. Consider a man who spends $125 on a pair of shoes. While these shoes were manifesting cost may be a mere $3, his purchase is based on how the shoes make him look and feel, rather than the value or comfort they provide.
Feeling the customers' worldview
Every person has their own set of needs and thus their own worldview of what they want out of life. This worldview is founded on their personal assumptions, biases, and values. As a result, one's upbringing, parents, school, current surrounding environment, and the various places he/she has lived all influence one's worldview. A person who has been cheated at a used car dealership, for example, will have a different impression than one who has had repeated success buying cars at dealerships. While not all customers are the same, they are also not completely different. Two people from similar environments and backgrounds, for example, will have similar worldviews - at least to some extent.
Tailoring to the worldview
Once the target audience's common worldview is identified, marketers must develop a story or framework that matches that worldview and meaningfully resonates with it. If a salty snack marketer wants to change the perception/worldview of mothers who think salty snacks are unhealthy, they must create stories that shift the focus from the salty potato snack to 'made with soy,' or say they are low-fat, with healthy sea salt, and so on.
Understanding how the brain process new information
A shift in story focus means new information for customers to understand and process. As a result, marketers must understand how the human brain works and how consumers process information. To begin with, humans are sensitive to change. When they see something new, they immediately compare it to what they already know about that concept. The brain works to process and understand the difference the moment they notice the 'new,' and people look for explanations for the change because the brain becomes restless with the 'newness' and randomness.
The resounding impact of authentic stories
People's purchasing decisions are influenced by their perceptions of a brand, company, story, campaign, product, and so on. As a result, marketers must ensure that their targeted customers make the correct judgments about their product when they first encounter it. Simultaneously, there is a significant difference between first product contact and first product impression. While marketers frequently confuse the two, the first contact is simply the customer's first encounter with the product or brand. The first contact does not have to elicit a response from the customer; however, the first impression most certainly will - and will evoke a meaningful response.
The fine line between fibs and fraud, and never crossing it
Understanding the irrationality of purchasing behaviour is central to marketing. Consumers do not always make sound purchasing decisions. With the battle of want versus need, everyone is guilty of purchasing an overpriced product or making a purchase without proper price or quality information. Marketers are well aware of this and make full use of irrationality. To sell their products, some marketers resort to deception and fraud. While fibs are small harmless lies that aim to make a story appear authentic, frauds are outright lies that harm consumers.
Telling an authentic and meaningful story is a sure way to reach the right customers. Marketers must understand the concept of 'worldview' and tailor it to the audience they wish to reach. Furthermore, they should be able to align every aspect of their business with the story they are telling their customers while avoiding contradictions. Furthermore, they should be able to align every aspect of their business with the story they tell their customers while avoiding fraudulent stories at all costs!